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Enter the Rainmaker

Enter the Rainmaker - Washington DC Co-working

What do you do when a client asks you to make it rain?

You can either run to the bank or make a deal or two (straight cash!) or, if you’re Ryder Haske of Peoples Television, you call up your cohorts at The Lookout to build a bespoke Rainmaker and get the shot done.

Rain looks amazing in videos and stills, but the logistics involved with shooting in said conditions can be tricky at best. Keeping crucial gear dry while lighting, exposing and shooting in the rain is a difficult balancing act that requires quite a bit of man power. Plus, it has to actually be raining.

Enter the Rainmaker. An expanse of 2×4’s mated to a soaker hose that came together in a makeshift all hands on deck production facility on the roof deck of the Lookout, mere hours before Ryder’s shoot. The genius of its design is that it can be disassembled in minutes for easy transport and storage, and quickly put back together when needed on set. All you need is a source of running water and a wrench.

There were, however, some key issues other than transportability that needed to be solved before the mighty rainmaker was deployed onset. The most important being how it would physically mount to its support stands.

Enter the Rainmaker Co-working Washington DC 2
Enter the Rainmaker Co-working Washington DC 2

The structure would have to be raised and lowered safely, be sturdy enough to handle the weight of a fully loaded 20 foot soaker hose and safe enough to not come crashing down on the talent or crew. It’s safe to say that production would wrap if a contraption of this size collapsed on the star of the show, so it’s always important to give undo consideration to the fail points of any structure when working on set.

A trio of heavy duty C-stands were chosen as the base and after much deliberation, a simple yet safe and reliable mounting strategy was devised.

The project is part of an educational video series about sustainable urban design for The Nature Conservancy and is produced by People’s Television. The rain scene explains what happens when rain falls on impermeable urban surfaces, like parking lots, roads, roofs, etc, and how natural infrastructure such as rain gardens reduce pollution in the rivers like the Anacostia by reducing storm water run off. This meant the set had to be dry for each take, so the crew had to carefully reposition the entire rain making structure to a dry area of the set after each take. Check out the clip below of the Rainmaker makin’ rain.

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